Canadian troops are not in Iraq, although this
newspaper has consistently advocated sending them there. As we said at the time
of the Coalition intervention in 2003, "much good should flow from it."
Subsequent events have proved our position to be entirely wrong. It is now clear
that Iraq is in a much more desperate situation than before the invasion, that
there were no "weapons of mass destruction," and that the invasion
was illegal and without justification. We at the Globe
are therefore satisfied, like Col.
Cathcart, that our genius for ineptitude has not been blunted.
It is in this light that we wholeheartedly support the Canadian involvement
in the Afghan catastrophe. We report that our troops are being killed and injured
respectable rates, enough perhaps to get us some credibility in Washington.
It is indeed regrettable that some of these casualties have been from American
bombing and strafing, but this is still honorable: war is a tough business.
Afghanistan was known to be impoverished and littered with land mines after
the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, but of little interest until 9/11, The Cataclysm
That Changed the World Forever. Then, when it became clear that the 9/11 hijackers
were almost all from Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan had to be dealt with promptly
Since the subsequent, successful Afghan intervention in 2001, which even the
previous lily-livered Liberal government was able to support, there has been
marked improvement and benefit. Afghanistan has a democratically elected government,
which is pretty influential out to Kabul's city limits, and opium production
is up. Land mines are admittedly still a problem, and as
reported by the Guardian (a gutless left-wing newspaper that probably
supported Stalin, although Churchill supported Stalin, which is a bit of a problem
for us, but nothing we can't work out), the current situation in Afghanistan
is "close to anarchy with feuding foreign agencies and unethical private
security companies compounding problems caused by local corruption." This
"stark warning came from Lieutenant General David Richards, head of NATO's
international security force in Afghanistan, who warned that Western forces
there were short of equipment and were 'running out of time' if they were going
to meet the expectations of the Afghan people."
Luckily, however, Operation
Medusa has been a success (although there are a few
flaky doubters who lower morale but can be easily ignored), and our Canadian
troops will now be bravely engaged, with our UN-sanctioned NATO allies, in destroying
the opium crop, and with it a major source of income for impoverished rural
Afghans (the drought is taking care of the rest). We applaud this resolution.
We are not deterred by the fact that European troops (and their colonial descendants)
who have little knowledge of the local language, culture, or customs are once
again trying to impose their objectives on a population that resents their presence.
Neither are we discouraged by the lack of funding or planning for a realistic
economic recovery. On the contrary, we on the Globe editorial board are
determined to persevere to our objective: a democratic, stable, peaceful Afghanistan,
sympathetic to the West, prosperous, and resistant to the mad mullahs in Iran
and Pakistan, even though we have no idea how any of this can be accomplished.
We support the Harper government's determination to see Canada's Afghan involvement
through to its inevitable and disastrous conclusion.